I mean the old Gena Showalter!!! The one who wrote heart pounding, flushed-cheek inducing, graphically detailed steamy scene writer, Gena Showalter. Does anyone know? Can we find her and bring her back? Please?
Some say she has found religion and that is why her books have lost that steamy goodness, and you can certainly see more theology in the books, but I am not sure I buy it. Why would someone drift from the steam into violence because of religion? Ok. I just wrote than and then realized that maybe that’s a stupid question given how often the “love thy neighbor” religion really is a facade for violence, discrimination, and all sorts of other bad things that have lead to more wars on earth than anything… but, leaving politics aside – I miss the author I used to love to read!!!
Which book brought me to the brink, asking these questions? Last Kiss Goodnight, by Gena Showalter. Everything I have read, and the cover of LKG itself, proclaim this to be the first in a sizzling new series (the Otherworld Assassin series and it seems this is some sort of spin-off or something from her Alien Huntress series, but I’ve never read any of the AH). But, like with many of the other folks who have read and reviewed this book, I think sizzling is a little misleading. The author has every right to write what she wants and not write what she doesn’t. But I think the publishers shouldn’t try to sell me something – when this book is clearly not what they claim it to be. As a result, I really struggled with where to even categorize this series’ pages here on this site. It’s certainly romance, because we are faced with the love stories. And it’s alien, and I don’t usually separate out alien into another category, instead they usually sit in the PNR category too. But, the steam, spice, sizzle, what ever you want to call all that juicy blush inducing stuff that is typically in the PNR books, and was in the start of Showalter’s Lords of the Underworld series (and not so much now – see my latest reviews) is not here. Neither is her wit and dark sense of humor.
This book is missing so much of what made me read the first few Lords of the Underworld books without putting them down. Sure, there’s some kissing and we know that eventually the characters have sex but it’s just not what it used to be. And I don’t mean we need to have them together in the first 5 chapters. But when I wait until the last ten percent of the book to finally see the couple in fact couple, I want more than one line and the inference of what happens. And that’s really all we get here.
I will also note that there is significant violence. We see Solo ripping a man’s throat out, we see Vika get repeatedly beaten, we see animals being senselessly tortured and we see emotional abuse galore (forcing a child to kill her prized lion). And yet, the good, the love, is limited. It’s a shame.
I read a few other reviews that talked about being hit over the head with the theology. I admit, five chapters in I started skipping the bible verses at the beginning of each chapter. So maybe that’s what helped limit the feeling of being preached to (and I have read a fair share of those – and hate them – so I would be honest if I felt that way here). Don’t get me wrong, its obvious that X and Dr E are the little angel and little devil, feeding Solo with choices always trying to show Solo to be good or to convince him to embrace evil. And good does prevail – as it usually does in these books. But I didn’t feel like I was having religion shoved down my throat. Although I can see where that perspective comes from. I guess I just tried to continue to remember that Dr E and X were aliens, from Solo’s home planet too, and purposefully tried not to think of them as an exercise in religious theory. The once or twice I felt like I was sitting in the pew at Sunday mass, I skipped to the end of the paragraph and intentionally moved on. It worked for me. Although, if this keeps up, it doesn’t bode well for my desire to purchase more of Showalter’s books.
What bothered me most about this book was the female lead. I saw a review that pointed out Vika’s courage and strength – but I am not sure I see it that way. Sure, she seems to be planning an escape. And she seems to be willing to eventually follow through with doing it, but she is a doormat the rest of the book. She gets abused over and over. The dialogue is crappy – the pleading Vika does with her father… the conversations between Mata and Vika… the way her being deaf is convenient but so unrealistic – I know deaf people can “hear” music and sounds because of vibrations, but to actually be able to understand a conversation that you can’t see because you are underneath a trailer through the vibrations… please that’s just too much – none of this lives up to the standards I have set for Showalter based on previous books.
We had some good plot holes too – why Vika doesn’t feel the effect of a vow with Solo the way others do; why X knows from the start they are meant to be together; Vika’s ability to hide that she is deaf is way too perfect; how and why did the whole switching eye color thing work, and Solo becoming deaf and them then “sharing the ability to hear” at the end; what the heck to solar flares have to do with traveling and how the heck is that tied to black magic and the no lands; were those supposed to be zombies in the no lands… the list could go on.
I miss the author who wrote all the great dialogue, characters, plot, sex scenes and stories that were the start of the Lords of the Underworld series. Can someone figure out how to get her back, please, even if we need to use solar flares?
UPDATE: found the following on Showalter’s website about this new “series”: “
Q: Will Dallas get a book? What about the Otherworld Assassins series?
A: Right now, I have no more Alien Huntress or Otherworld Assassin books under contract. However, Dallas appears briefly in Last Kiss Goodnight but has a bigger role in Black and Blue. BUT. I would like to write his happily ever after one day, one way or another. Nothing is currently in the works, however, and I’m sorry for that! “
Sooooo… might really only be 2 books, which is really more like a book and a sequel, not a series. But that’s just my opinion…